Tag Archives: The Refugees

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen: Fatherland

Fatherland, the final story in The Refugees, recounts the meeting of two half-sisters for the first time in their lives. Phuong is twenty-three-years-old when her namesake, who has now taken the name Vivien, visits Vietnam from America. Vivien is the daughter Phuong’s father Mr Ly had with his first wife. After the fall of Saigon, […]

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen: Someone Else Besides You

Thomas, the protagonist in Someone Else Besides You, the penultimate story in The Refugees is a divorced, second-generation Vietnamese American. Thomas’s ex-wife, Sam had wanted to have a child with Thomas. But when she couldn’t get Thomas to agree to it, she had gone her separate way, although they still loved each other. Thomas’s marriage […]

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen: The Americans

In The Americans, the protagonist is James Carver, a sixty-eight-years-old American veteran pilot who had fought in the Vietnam war. Although James had flown a B-52, “an ungainly blue whale of a plane,” carrying bombs over the region during the war, he had never been to Vietnam before. But now with his daughter, Claire living […]

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen: I’d Love You to Want Me

I’d Love You to Want Me is one of the saddest love stories I’ve read. The story begins at a wedding where Mrs. Sa Khanh and her husband who is referred to as Professor are attendees. Professor has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s recently, so Sa is used to his memory lapses, but it had not […]

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen: The Transplant

In The Transplant, Arthur Arellano is a Mexican-American man who has autoimmune hepatitis, a chronic condition which basically means his immune system attacks the liver. When Arthur was first diagnosed with this disease, it had caught him off-guard. He is a compulsive gambler who had ignored the early symptoms as stress over his gambling debts. […]

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen: War Years

According to this interview published on NPR, War Years is a story loosely based on the author’s family’s life. As you may know, Viet Thanh Nguyen is a Vietnamese-American novelist who fled to America with his parents after the fall of Saigon when he was four-years-old. After they settled in San Jose, California in the […]

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen: The Other Man

The protagonist of The Other Man is Liem, an eighteen-year-old Vietnamese boy. As the eldest son in a family of hawkers and farmers, the duty of helping out the family financially had fallen on Liem at a very young age. So at twelve, Liem had left school to shine the boots of American soldiers, and […]

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen: Black-Eyed Women

Black-Eyed Women, the opening story in Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen’s anthology begins by listing some of the miserable ways one could become famous. Surviving being kidnapped and imprisoned for years, involvement in a sex scandal, escaping a fatal disaster unscathed – all these are ways one’s name could make headlines. And it is […]